City of Tacoma WA Senior Planner in Tacoma, Washington

Position Description

The City of Tacoma's Planning and Development Services Department (PDS) is accepting applications for a Senior Planner for the Links to Opportunity Project. This is a temporary project position that will be funded for one year from the date of hire. Employment cannot be guaranteed beyond the one-year period.

The City of Tacoma has an exciting opportunity for a Senior Planner to be part of an interdepartmental team managing and coordinating the streetscape redesign of the streets along the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Expansion Route.

This project and position are funded by a $2 million Federal Transit Administration grant to Sound Transit, in partnership with the City of Tacoma, for transit oriented development planning along the future Tacoma Link Expansion Route.

The grant, which is part of the FTA Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning, is intended to help the City foster smart, affordable development along the expanded light rail line. [More information about the Links to Opportunity Project can be found below, in the section entitled: Links to Opportunity Project Background.]

**This position is funded for one year from the date of hire. Employment cannot be guaranteed beyond the one-year period.

Overview of Senior Planner duties: Specifically, the Senior Planner position will co-manage, review and offer feedback about the streetscape conceptual design and engineering planning work carried out by a design and engineering consulting group retained by the City of Tacoma.

The Senior Planner will also work with staff and consultants to coordinate community outreach elements of the project, which will include the need to work closely with other City staff and consultants.

The purpose of the outreach and engagement work is both to ensure that the public input gathered about desired urban design features of a new streetscape are incorporated in the conceptual design plans and to keep the residents, businesses, community members, and other stakeholders along the Link Light Rail Expansion Route informed of the planning efforts and processes.

The Senior Planner will be expected to provide direct outreach with property owners, businesses, and community members along the Expansion route to learn more about their desired streetscape features, which would facilitate access and result in a cohesively designed streetscape. When necessary or relevant, the Senior Planner will work with Sound Transit and the streetscape engineering and conceptual design consulting team to address the feedback of property owners.

The Senior Planner will also manage the streetscape consultant's coordination of the Links to Opportunity Project's "storefront" office, collaborate closely with Sound Transit and Pierce Transit about design plans, and coordinate interdepartmental or interjurisdictional meetings as needed. The Senior Planner will report to the Links to Opportunity Project Manager and the Planning Division Manager. This position reflects complex and highly responsible professional work in urban planning and requires the application of significant professional judgment and effective operational relationships.

Links to Opportunity Project Background: The City's Links to Opportunity Project was established in 2016 to do the following:

  1. Develop conceptual design and engineering plans for streetscape improvements along the Tacoma Link Expansion corridor. The planning area runs along the route from curb to building face.
  2. Conduct public outreach and analysis of community characteristics along the Expansion corridor.The feedback and information gathered will be incorporated into the conceptual design and engineering plans of the streetscape.
  3. Facilitate the sharing of economic development, jobs and prosperity created by the Link Extension with Hilltop and other residents along the Expansion corridor. The Links to Opportunity Project is separate from Sound Transit's Tacoma Link Expansion planning, though the City and Sound Transit are collaborating to align these related efforts. The end of the Federal Transit Administration grant funding period is August 2018. For more information please visit:

Essential Duties of Senior Planner:

  • Co-manage the conceptual design and engineering contract between the City of Tacoma and a consulting team. Utilize urban design expertise and best practices to facilitate decision making related to proposed design features in the streetscape along the Link Light Rail Expansion route.
  • Work with the streetscape conceptual design and engineering consultant team to manage and program activities for the public engagement "storefront" in the Links to Opportunity Project streetscape planning area. Provide staffing for the office as scheduled.
  • Participate in and coordinate stakeholder group meetings, internal team meetings, interdepartmental meetings, consultant meetings, public outreach meetings, and other meetings as necessary.
  • On the City's behalf, interface with private developers and community organizations on the Link Light Rail Expansion Corridor about streetscape design issues.
  • Identify barriers, structures and issues within City of Tacoma government which have historically resulted in inadequate and limited public engagement on design issues.
  • Conduct research and apply best practices on outreach related to design in diverse urban communities.
  • Attend after-hours public community meetings, Council Committees, Council meetings, and Planning Commission meetings.
  • Create a report for Planning and Development Services, documenting and identifying lessons learned from the community-led design efforts and interdepartmental coordination carried out as part of the Links to Opportunity project in order to support application of the lessons learned to future City streetscape design efforts.

Candidate Profile: The candidate will need to work well with others in a collaborative team setting and have the ability to effectively and sensitively oversee highly visible and sometimes controversial projects. To effectively navigate in a complex organization, the successful candidate will possess strong interoffice and interagency relationship building and management skills, as well as a nuanced understanding of organizational decision-making and operation.

The Senior Planner's work will focus on the Hilltop neighborhood. Please refer to the 2014 Hilltop Subarea Plan and EIS for background information on the area.

The Department: The City of Tacoma's Planning and Development Services Department encompasses all aspects of building, land use, and site development. The Department is organized in two divisions – the Planning Division and the Development Services Division. The mission of the Planning & Development Services Department is to partner with the community to build a livable, sustainable and safe City by providing strategic, timely, predictable, cost effective planning and development services with a culture focused on community engagement, customer service, creativity, accountability and continuous improvement.

The Planning Division includes long-range land use, neighborhood, housing and environmental planning, as well as the City's Historic Preservation Program. The Division's goal is to guide community growth and development in a manner that protects environmental resources, enhances quality of life, promotes distinctive neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown, and involves citizens in the decisions that affect them. We work together with the community, City Council, Planning Commission, and Landmarks Preservation Commission to develop and update the One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan, along with neighborhood and subarea plans, and associated regulations and implementation strategies that guide the future development of the built and natural environment of Tacoma.

City of Tacoma Recruitment Information: One of the primary goals of the City of Tacoma Equity and Empowerment Initiative is that the City of Tacoma workforce reflects the community it serves. We actively work to eliminate racial and other disparities and we welcome candidates with diverse and/or multicultural skill sets and personal experiences. Our goal is for Tacoma to be an inclusive and equitable place to live, work and play.



  • Bachelor's degree in planning, architecture, public administration, urban design, engineering or closely allied field and at least four years of progressively responsible planning experience;


  • Master's degree in planning, architecture, public administration, urban design, engineering or closely allied field and at least two years of progressively responsible experience in the planning profession;


  • Other education and experience that provides an equivalent level of expertise and ability in the planning profession may be acceptable. LICENSING, CERTIFICATIONS AND OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS: There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

  • Depending upon assignment a WA driver's license may be required

  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification is preferred. Knowledge & Skills

In addition to the qualifications, experience and competency in the following areas is highly desired:

  • Exceptional verbal, interpersonal and presentation skills, with the ability to adapt style and tone to reach target audiences.
  • Strong writing and editing skills and demonstrated creativity and innovation in programs and processes.
  • Adept a working effectively with elected officials, advisory boards, and a diverse community with active citizen involvement in an equitable manner, and helping the community and other stakeholders understand and navigate complex or sensitive issues.
  • Working knowledge of federal, state and local laws, ordinances and codes pertaining to a wide variety of planning topics, including Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA).
  • Proven ability to develop and guide implementation of strategic plans and programs and effectively manage multiple, high-priority assignments or issues simultaneously and meet firm deadlines.
  • Experience obtaining and administering grants and managing complicated projects that involve outside agency partners and consultant services.
  • Demonstrated experience with community outreach and effectively responding to community concerns and feedback.
  • Skilled at applying urban design principles to streetscape improvements or other public spaces.
  • Skilled in applying quantitative and qualitative analysis and evaluating data and information in a clear and rational thought process to assess and understand issues, evaluate options, form accurate conclusions, and make decisions.
  • Applicable knowledge of the theory, principles and techniques of the planning profession and development process, with an understanding of the interrelationships of land use, transportation, economy, urban design, environment, health, historic preservation, and human services with plans and regulations.
  • Proficiency with computer hardware and software programs, including Microsoft Office products, Internet applications, project management applications and GIS.
  • Experience working on Transit Oriented Development Projects preferred. Selection Process & Supplemental Information

Our City: With a population over 200,000, Tacoma is the second largest city in the Puget Sound region, gracing the shores of Commencement Bay. We are a diverse, progressive, international city that serves as a gateway to the Pacific Rim and the rest of the world. Named one of the most livable areas in the country by, Tacoma and the surrounding area is a playground for outdoor and maritime enthusiasts. Our businesses are vibrant, our parks are beautiful, our schools are exceptional and our housing is affordable.

When you work for the City of Tacoma you'll enjoy a healthy work/life balance, the potential for flexible schedules with some job classifications, continuing education programs, leadership pathways, wellness incentives and a total rewards benefits program. We welcome you to take a look at our website and discover how the City of Tacoma can make your next career move part of our combined destiny:

The City of Tacoma believes that each employee makes a significant contribution to our success. This job description is designed to outline primary duties, qualifications and job scope. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.

Interested individuals must apply online and meet the minimum qualifications to progress in the examination process.

Applicants must attach a detailed resume and cover letter describing your job experience, major responsibilities and accomplishments related to this position. NOTE: Applications received without attaching the required resume and cover letter will not progress in the selection process.

Applicants who are separated or retired and are eligible for veterans scoring criteria (Veterans Preference) must attach a copy of their DD-214 member copy 4, (proof of military discharge form) at time of application, to be eligible for review for Veteran's Preference points.

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will have their answers to Supplemental Questions #5 - #11 scored as the Experience and Training Test for this position. It is the responsibility of the applicants to adequately describe all pertinent experience and training. Applicants must pass the examination with a minimum score of 70% to be placed on the eligible list for interview and hiring consideration for any vacancies that may occur for the period of one year.

Appointment is subject to passing a background check. New employees must successfully complete a nine-month probationary period prior to obtaining permanent status in this classification.

Communication from the City of Tacoma: We primarily communicate via email during the application process. Emails from and/or must be placed on your safe domain list to ensure that you receive notifications in a timely manner. As a precaution, you may also want to check your junk email folders.

The online application system requires you to enter a substantial amount of information. Be prepared to spend at least an hour entering information. In order for your application materials to be considered, all information must be submitted by the closing date and time listed on this job announcement.

For assistance with the NEOGOV application process, questions regarding this job announcement, or if you are experiencing complications while applying, please contact the Human Resources office at (253) 591.5400 by 4:00 pm of the closing date of the job announcement. This will allow us to assist you before the job announcement closes.

Salary: $33.33 - $42.73 Hourly

Location: Tacoma, WA

Job Type: Classified

Job Number: 2203-17

Department: Planning & Development Services

Closing: 6/29/2017 5:00 PM Pacific

Agency: City of Tacoma

Address: Human Resources Department 747 Market Street Tacoma, Washington, 98402-3764.

Phone: 253-591-5400